DREAMING THE KAROO, a people called the /Xam

: Blackburn (J.)

R 420.00
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294pp., illus., paperback, London, 2022


 "Julia Blackburn listens. To the voices of a people who call out from a distant time, and to the sound of her own careful, inspiring way of listening. To what it has meant for a hunting society to be locked out of their own lives as well as for her to be locked down. Travelling to the landscapes of the Karoo, yet remaining tied to a corner of the English countryside, Blackburn explores the ruthlessness of colonial frontiers, what we hear from those they dispossess, and what it means to be at the heart of who we are. Here is a work of astonishing breadth, clarity and power. Again and again, as I read, I gasped at the intense relevance and importance, as well as the beauty of this book." Hugh Brody, author of Landscapes of Silence, from childhood to the Arctic

"This is a delicate project: to take the words of the /Xam without stealing again from people forced off their land, and to weave those stories into her own words of loss, wonder and dislocation, but Blackburn pulls it off. Her observations of the desolation of a Karoo, stripped of all wild life and of South Africa’s violent history that endures in the present, are piercingly exact, as is her evocation of the ghostly, frightening loneliness of the pandemic. Her writing of history and memory – both personal and public – is so deft as to seem effortless. This elliptical and bewitching book is a delight." Margie Orford, The Spectator

Julia Blackburn is the author of two novels, a memoir and 12 works of non-fiction, including Time Song and Thin Paths. She lives in Suffolk and Italy.